Numerous areas were identified for improvement following the Kansas Learning Network visit during the fall of 2010. Areas of particular focus were those of curriculum and instruction. What has the district staff been doing to make those improvements?
1) All school buildings developed a team to plan for implementation of MTSS (Multi-tiered system of support). All Kingman schools identified reading as the area which needed focus and Norwich schools determined their focus would be on math. Using data obtained from various tests, students would be identified for further assistance to correct deficiencies. With new instructional tools available and data from testing, students deficiencies can be identified and significant improvements can be made. Though each building is at various levels of MTSS implementation, significant student improvement is already occurring.
2) Administrators often stopped in various classrooms while walking around their buildings, but this school year, they do so with a specific purpose in most cases. District administrators worked with educational consultants to develop and become trained on the 5 minute observation. This gets administrators in the classrooms much more and in most cases, they make observations which they share with teachers almost immediately after completing the observation. This has led to numerous conversations and reflection on instruction and learning and since all of the data is recorded, areas of professional development are identified. For instance, a transition to the common core standards requires higher order thinking skills be developed. Data obtained from the observations led to professional learning during an in-service day to assist teachers in developing that type of instruction.
3) Several teachers and administrators attended a week long KLN Curriculum Institute in Pittsburg, KS this past summer. With the work those educators began, a district curriculum leadership team was formed to redesign the math and English – Language Arts curriculum for the district that addressed current standards, identified resources including technology, and set the pace for what should be covered throughout the school year. Since Kansas, along with almost every other state, adopted the common core standards, their work is now continuing with making appropriate changes toward the common core standards. The work these dedicated professionals of our district have completed is phenomenal and they will lead the in-service for all instructional staff in April.
The above describes a few of the improvements currently being worked on in the district. I am extremely proud of the dedication and work of everyone involved and I hope all patrons are as well.